Top 5 Tips on Starting a Blog & Instagram Account | #TheMomBlogCollective Week 1

I'm so excited to share a new series I am starting here on my blog called #TheMomBlogCollective. Twice a month, a group of 10 of us will be sharing a blog post on the same topic -- related to blogging, instagram, working with brands, creating sponsored posts, photography, motherhood and more. More than almost anything else, each of us get asked how we started blogging, what tips we have for someone looking to start, how to work with companies for sponsored posts and more, so those questions are the starting point for our series. 

Each month we will feature different guest bloggers in addition to our core 10. My favorite part is that while we will all be answering the same questions and writing about the same topics, it will give each of you a wide variety of perspectives. We each have a different blogging style, photography style, schedule and more so it will be a great opportunity to read everyone's posts and then figure out what works best for you. And if you have a topic you'd love to get an answer to in our series, search the hashtag #TheMomBlogCollective on instagram and comment on any one of our photos under that hashtag to let us know! You can also leave comments on our blog posts.

To kick off the series, we'll each be sharing our Top 5 Tips on Starting a Blog and Instagram Account

I began blogging in 2013 very casually, after my first daughter was born and I found myself as a Stay at Home Mom with extra time on my hands during naps. I wanted a way to connect with other moms in similar seasons of life, while also sharing my journey as a new mom and having something to look back on as Olivia grew. I also started an instgram account around that time, though I had very few followers and I basically posted whatever I wanted, bad filters and all. Over time my blog and instagram evolved to become so much more than I imagined they would be, and in 2015 is when I really feel like I got serious with building my brand and following and reaching out to work with companies I believed in and admired. So here are my Top 5 Tips!

1. Just Do It
I get asked most often "how do I start?" and my answer is always the same -- just do it! Even if you have no idea what you're doing, get started. I had no clue what I was doing (and knew nothing about the blogging world) when I began back in 2013. Heck, I barely even read blogs! Almost everything I have accomplished was self-taught, day by day and one piece at a time. I didn't know anything about HTML, SEO, instagram, social media, or what the mom blogging world even involved. I just decided to jump in feet first and go for it. The sooner you start, the better.

2. Pick a Blog Name
Something to continually keep in the back of your mind as you begin blogging is that one of your ultimate goals is to "create a brand" -- this will help you grow, establish relationships with other brands, get paid to blog and more. We will be sharing more on this specific topic in a few weeks, but as you grow, your brand is what you will be known for, which is why picking a blog name that fits with your brand is so important. Choose a name that is easy to remember, has a ring to it, isn't too long, and in just a few words tells your readers what you will be blogging about. For example, A Blessed Nest. It rhymes and is only 3 words long, but it tells you that I will likely be blogging about my home and/or family. Picking a solid, catchy name from the beginning is key.

3. Pick a Hosting Site and Template
Most bloggers either host their blogs on Blogger or Wordpress, both of which have advantages and disadvantages, for example Blogger is free and Wordpress is not. You can select which you would like (google "blogger vs. wordpress" for some more information) and create a blog at your preferred location. You can then buy a pre-made template inexpensively with all the HTML online or from Etsy (unless you are very experienced in it) that you will then input in to your blog's formatting and it will set up your blog to have the exact look you want, including the font, layout, and more, without having to write all the HTML yourself. If you hire a professional web designer you are going to pay much more, but you can find some pretty simple and classy layouts on Etsy for $30 or less. The easier your blog is to navigate, the better. I always lean toward a black and white theme, lots of white space, and easy to read fonts, because it is not only better for my readers but also more professional, something to consider when you begin approaching brands.

4. Start Blogging!
This may seem obvious, but the only way to build a blog and following is to start blogging. Decide what you want to focus your blog on, which should go hand in hand with your blog title, and start. Even if you have no one reading your first few posts, keep writing. I'm pretty sure less than 10 people followed me on instagram when I first began and my photos would get like 3 likes. Ha. Don't let that discourage you if you are starting with no one following along. Remember that ultimately you are doing this for yourself, as a creative outlet, or a way to connect with others, or to document your journey as a Mom. While blogging is a lot of work (and a lot more than I think most people realize), I blog because I love doing it. I've always told myself if I ever get to a point where I no longer love what I'm doing, I will stop. 

5. Put Yourself Out There
This is one of the hardest parts when first starting because it can be scary to share who you are and what you are writing about for fear of being judged or criticized, but creating social media accounts that go along with your blog -- or picking one specific account to focus most on (mine would be instagram) -- is a great way to begin making your blog known, and connecting with other bloggers to collaborate and build a following. Having a go-to social media platform that aligns with your blog (for example, with a similar name or the same name) will be the foundation for building your brand, cross-promoting your blog posts and working with other brands. Influencer-marketing is so huge right now and is primarily done on instagram, so if you are unsure of what social media platform to pursue, that is a great place to start. After you create an instagram account, you can begin by following bloggers you love and whose style you admire. Just by following along with them you will learn tips and tricks along the way. Being active and engaging with those you follow and those who follow you is another way to become better known. Remember that growth for your blog or instagram doesn't happen overnight, but if you continually put forth genuine, authentic content, you will be seen and become known.

1 comment:

  1. I'm just starting out with my blog and I found this post very reassuring. Thanks for the positive advice and encouragement!


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